Saturday, 12 May 2018

Supermarine Swift FR.5

This is Airfix's recent tooling of the Supermarine Swift FR.5 in 1/72nd scale. It is a very well detailed model, as with all of the new tooling that are coming out of Airfix's design department. The only issue that I had was with the cockpit tub fitting into the fuselage. A little bit of sanding and filing was needed to the outer surfaces of the interior tub to allow the fuselage halve to close up properly. Otherwise, a trouble free build with such a wonderful kit. 

Airfix have given two options on schemes with this kit. The first is of the RAF No.79 Squadron  based in Gutersloh, Germany in April 1956 and the second is of RAF N0.11 (AC) Squadron based in Jever, Germany in 1956. I went with the 79 Squadron version with the PRU Blue underside, because I thought it looked different from the normal grey versions you usually see. I used Xtracrylix paints for the scheme on the model, cleared it with Alclad Aquaclear gloss before decaling and finishing with Alclad's flat clear.

In all, a very nice kit to build, as with all of the new tooling kits from Airfix that I have built, a pleasure to build them. I can highly recommend this kit of the Swift and hope that Airfix release some different versions of the Swift at some point.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb "Scramble"

This is the old Aifix tooling from the 1970's, which had originally been started by my grandson's friend who lost interest in it after one day. So as it was lying around, I decided to not let it go to waste and finish it off. 

I wanted to do something different and first decided to have the Spitfire flying. But this had been done so many times, so I went down a different path and had the aircraft taking off after a Scramble. Construction was as normal, par the instructions. But I did a few cuts on the wings and rudder to position the aerolons, tail-planes and rudder as if the aircraft was doing a steep climb and turn. The undercarriage was altered to represent the struts retracting into the wings after taking off. I had thought about motorising the prop, but then realised that it did not warrant the cost of the motor for this model, so after a few attempts, I used a disc of clear acetate and painted the spinning blades on it . These will do for now, but I may replace it with either a better version of it or some photo etched ones instead.

The model was painted using Alclad 2's Mil-Spec paints and one of the kit decal options, sealed with Alclad's flat clear. I mounted the model on a length of acrylic rod glued to a hole in the underside of the fuselage which was then glued to a piece of routered MDF. The base was stained, varnished and the top was finished with some scenic scatter before mounting the aircraft to it. A quick build for an old kit to have a break in-between some other project, but with a little bit of imagination added to it.

So Much To Update!

Hi everyone.

All I can do is apologise for the lack of updates on WIP's and finished projects. The last six or so months have been a little hectic with one thing and another. The club I started last year with two other people has been the biggest interruption with my general life. There has been some problems caused by these two people which has ended up with me leaving the club along with several others, with us starting a new one in its place. I will get to this new club later.

Okay, on to the backlog of finished projects and some current WIP's on the bench at the minute. I will do individual post on here for each completed build to bring you all up to date things. This will start with a Supermarine Spitfire which was finished last summer, followed by the Supermarine Swift, a Volkswagon "Beetle" 230 Gas Generator, a FV101 Scorpion tank and finish with a F-117A Nighthawk. Once these have be done, I will start on the WIP's which are ongoing at the minute and hopefully keep up to date with them as work progresses.

Another thing, I have also given up my website which I had. This has mainly been down to lack of time to do anything on it for the last few years. It seemed to be a waste of money paying for the hosting when it was not getting updated . So I will slowly start to do some changes on this blog and add some of my best early builds to here in their own sections. All additions will be announced on the main posting page here.

So let's get updating things.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

T28 Super Heavy Tank "The Beast"

When I first got this kit, I thought that it was a Russian tank, but then looking at the box artwork, I got to thinking to myself "What is that American car doing there and why are they wearing American uniforms?". Then after a little research into this tank, I discovered that it was actually an American tank developed towards the end of the second world war. They had built two of these beasts and were developing them to destroy the German defences after the D Day invasion. But alas, these large tanks never saw action and only one is left at a museum in America.

So, lets have a quick run through of building this thing. The basic tank is fairly simple, with there not being any interior to build so just the main hull to be assembled. The time consuming parts of construction was the assembly of all the working suspension, with two springs in each unit. Why Dragon did this, is unknown as you will not really see them operating. These are also handed depending on which side of the hull or outer track units they get mounted to. Other things that took time were all of the wheels which need making up. Remember, this tank has four sets of tracks instead of the normal two, plus the track also need the all of the guide teeth glued onto them to, so mind numbing.

Once all of the suspension, tracks and wheels have been dealt with and assembled, you have to decide how you are going to display the tank. The kit offers two options, firt is to have the outer track unit mounted in position on the hull like in the photo above. Or the second is in their towing position as in the photo below. I made the choice to be able to have the ability to display the model in both set ups as when required. So I did some modifications which would allow this to happen, just by drilling out the pin positions on the locking brackets and use plastic rod to hold the units in place on the hull. A new removable rear brace was also made for when I was displaying the model in the towed set up. So now that this was sorted out, I could continue with building the tank. Dragon did the wise thing and supplied an aluminium gun barrel with the kit. A two piece plastic one would have not done the job, especially with the length of this one, you could not guarantee getting it straight.

A few etch parts were included with the kit to make up the storage boxes, jack brackets, suspension arms and spare track holder. And yes, those tiny squares that you see on the model are little boxes which had to be folded up. There is an aftermarket etched detail available for this model, but I wanted to keep this as a quick build.

From my research photos, I discovered that Dragon had missed out a few areas of the tank. The first was the boxed off areas in the outer track units. This was something that could not be ignored and I quickly made them up out of plasticard and glued them in place. A couple more things missing were the two hooks used to hook the cables over when towing the outer track units. This again was made from plasticard and glued into position on the rear panel of the hull. The final bit of scratch-building that I had done was the lower pulleys for the outer track unit lifting cranes. Looking at various photos, I manage to work out what they kind of looked like and made them up again from the old faithful plasticard. 

Now that all of the main construction was done, it was time to start painting the model. After priming everything, I pre-shaded areas of the hull, wheels and barrel. From some old colour photos of the tank, I saw that the inner surfaces where the tracks were, it was painted in a faded light greenish grey colour. So I mixed up some paint to try and match this shade as I thought it might when newly painted and airbrushed the inner surfaces and wheels to match.

For the hull colour, I used Vallejo's US Olive Drab and airbrushed this in light coats. Some of the road wheels were also painted in this colour, but only the ones in the outer facing positions on the outer track units. The next task was painting all of the tyres on the road wheels before assembling them all onto the model.

Final assembly, detail painting and weathering now started on the model, with the push to complete it for the Nationals at Telford. I used a selection of weathering washes, pigments and streaking washes to weather the T28. But I made sure not to do too much as this tank had only been used on a proving ground base, so it would have not got that dirty.

Below you can see the scratch-built hooks what the towing cable hook over. I believe this is what they looked like as the photos I found were old 1940's military ones from the development days. They would have the cables either crossed over like this or have all of the cable eyes in the shackles and loop the cables over the hooks.

Now the finished model, with the two track lifting cranes in their stored positions for transporting. I will be keeping this model in a storage box for safety reasons, as you see it  here, the model is about 27 inches long in this set-up. I do not have the shelf space to display her on at the minute, so in the box she will stay for now until she the call to be displayed.

It is a nice model to build overall, not fiddly interior to worry about, mainly because you would not be able to see it when built. It is something different compared to the normal armour models you see displayed on stands at shows. This model has only been to two shows so far, Southwell Show when it was still being built and Telford last weekend. At both shows, she drew a lot of interest from visitors who had never seen or heard of this tank before. But here is a couple of facts about it. The T.28 weighed 95 tonnes, had 12 inch armour plating on it, the gun was 105 mm T5E1, it had a top speed of 8 MPH and was to be transported over distances by rail, hence the detachable outer track units to allow this. Have a look on the internet for this special tank, just put "T28 Super Heavy Tank" in Google and look through the results. There is even a short video on YouTube of the tank being driven along.